Cuban diplomats expelled after alleged 'acoustic attack'

A guard stands at the entrance of the newly opened Cuban embassy in Washington D.C. in 2015

So some U.S. Government personnel who were working at our embassy in Havana, Cuba on official duties - so they were there working on behalf of the U.S. embassy there - they've reported some incidents which have caused a variety of physical symptoms.

Despite ostensibly improved ties between the USA and Cuban governments, the State Department on Wednesday confirmed it had expelled two Cuban diplomats from Washington because of an "incident" in Havana that harmed US personnel there.

It was not immediately clear what had happened, with spokeswoman Heather Nauert saying there were no "definitive answers about the source or cause".

The Canadian government said on Thursday that at least one diplomat in Havana was treated in hospital after suffering from hearing loss and headaches, CBC reports.

One State Department official confirms reports that these "incidents" involved symptoms of hearing loss.

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Nauert confirmed complaints of "physical symptoms" started in 2016.

"The Cuban government has been harassing USA personnel working in Havana for decades", he said. After months of investigation, US officials concluded that the diplomats had been attacked with an advanced sonic weapon that operated outside the range of audible sound and had been deployed either inside or outside their residences...

The official said the State Department's office of Diplomatic Security has the lead on the investigation.

The Associated Press reported that a United States investigation determined that the American diplomats' hearing loss could have been linked to sonic devices which emit inaudible sound waves that can cause deafness.

The US embassy in Havana only opened in 2015 as part of former President Obama's rapprochement with Cuba.

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She said two Cuban diplomats were expelled from Washington in retaliation in late May. Officials cautioned the AP that Cuba may have been unaware the attacks were happening, and that a third country like Russian Federation may have been responsible.

Cuba's foreign ministry said that in February it launched an "urgent investigation at the behest of the highest level of the Cuban government" into the incidents, adding that the country would never allow actions against diplomats and their families on its soil.

Cuban officials have pledged to investigate the incidents as well and take appropriate action, the officials told the Post.

The objection to removing the Cuban agents suggests that American officials did not merely want to reduce the number of staff in the embassy to balance the numbers following the departure of American officials from Havana. The United States first learned of the issues at the embassy in late 2016, she said.

"This has not stopped with President Obama's appeasement". On May 23rd, two Cuban diplomats were asked to leave the USA in an apparent response to American diplomats being forced to come home for medical reasons.

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